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Top 100 Places to Work winner Valiant Residential says it strives to live up to its name

‘Theory Thursday’ is a no-judgment way to keep workers’ ideas flowing, and mistakes are encouraged.


SPECIAL AWARD: Best Execution

The folks at Valiant Residential like to spend their Thursdays throwing outrageous ideas against the wall to see what sticks. But nobody has to clean up the mess for the ones that don’t.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

“Theory Thursday is a time of the week where we brainstorm any and everything under the sun that we can do to change,” Craig Lashley, the president, says, “whether it’s about culture, growth, color schemes, operations or anything else. Our team must have moments of making mistakes to figure out the best new practice.”

This modus operandi lives up to the rebranded name that the privately owned property manager adopted in 2018. Its previous name, SIMC Management, didn’t mean anything to anyone, Lashley says.

“Valiant means to be bold, to be ethical, be a leader, be the best, and that’s what we work for every day. Valiant is an emotional word. It’s an adjective that feels like a noun,” says the 36-year-old, who describes his leadership style as “passionately direct.”

Employees are on board with this thinking. Valiant also won our special award for workers’ survey responses to this statement: At this company, we do things efficiently and well.

“I have the ability to promote from within and train those needing training,” one employee says.

“The people who work with me believe in our mission, so our work together is fun and effective,” says another.

Founded in Dallas in 1987, Valiant has 55 D-FW locations and 270 local workers. It is this year’s No. 2 midsize company, moving up from a third-place ranking in 2018 and 17th in its first outing two years ago.

Employees brag about the company’s fast growth and community involvement.

Two days each year, Valiant’s corporate team works at Bryan’s House in Dallas, cleaning and helping out with administrative tasks for the nonprofit that serves children with medical or developmental needs and their families. Each month, a maintenance technician from one of its apartment complexes does a day of maintenance and repairs. That amounted to 150 hours of personal time last year.

What’s Valiant’s secret sauce?

“Valiant Education Fund,” Lashley says. “Through multiple programs, Valiant allows individuals to continue their education with a reimbursement program that also provides qualifications for licensed and certified programs.

“Valiant also offers a merit-based college scholarship for students of Valiant employees who are attending two- or four-year colleges or universities. Selection is based on academic promise, leadership, extracurricular activities and exemplary citizenship.”

Kim Espinoza (right) and Craig Lashley (second from right) were dejected as Tanya Morales...
Kim Espinoza (right) and Craig Lashley (second from right) were dejected as Tanya Morales (center) and Emily Schroeder (in white pants) celebrated their victory in a game of Jenga during an employee appreciation event for Valiant Residential employees.(Vernon Bryant / Staff Photographer)
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